The Fourth Industrial Revolution and its Implication for Agricultural Advisory Services in South Africa: A review

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Nkosi Mzwakhe, AGHOLOR A. ISAAC


The fourth industrial revolution has a distinct role in transforming the agricultural sector in South Africa. This paper examined the trajectory, social, economic, and political implications of the fourth industrial revolution and agricultural advisory services in South Africa. Moreover, highlights of opportunities and challenges presented by the fourth industrial revolution were discussed. The paper scrutinized and searched numerous literatures, using many search engines, data bases and notable institutional repositories. One hundred and seventy (170) scientific papers and grey literatures published between 2009 and 2020 were carefully chosen and comprehensively reviewed. Results revealed that upskilling of extension agents on digital technologies to respond to the needs of farmers is an immediate necessity. Furthermore, government policies indicate gaps for reappraisal to address aspects of digitalisation in agriculture which must be accentuated. The paper concludes that the early adoption and use of the fourth industrial revolution and accompanying technologies has the potential to contribute towards poverty alleviation and improving the economy of South Africa. It is recommended that reskilling and retraining of extension practitioners to develop digital skills and capability is crucial. A conducive and stable policy setting will not only support access to technology but also allows for infrastructural development that will minimize the constraints in accessing digital technologies which is critical.


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